I have spent the last couple of nights at my sister’s farm in Poowong. To a visitor it’s an idyllic, verdant property right out of Country Living with a cottage garden and various amusing animals such as an enormous showy turkey, who, if you gobble at him will gobble right back.
But like all farms, you don’t have to scratch the surface too deeply to find that it’s not all fluffy sheep gamboling in the rolling hills. In fact, it can be quite grim.
One of my sister’s recent trials has been quite Old Testament awful: crows have been spearing her chickens in the neck and ripping their throats out. This is probably why they call them “a murder of crows”.
The turkeys have all had some disease called black head they’ve bizarrely caught from earth worms, there’s a cow with mastitis, some thrushes that keep throwing themselves out of their nest, and a dog that can’t resist eating the ducks.
Apparently there’s a country saying “livestock means dead stock”, which you employ when some ill fate has befallen one of your creatures, which it will, regularly.
I like scratching the pigs behind the ears, picking the raspberries, and cuddling the lambikins, but I think my Little Golden Book idea of the country is clear evidence that I’m from the city.